First Farmers And Merchant Bank: Is It A Solid Option?

Wondering whether First Farmers and Merchant Bank is right for you? Well, read on for our ultimate review, and discover all you need to know about their services.
Updated April 2024
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Fact checked by Cathy Gresham
First Farmers
First Farmers and Merchant Bank is a financial services provider based in the United States, and the institution has a long history of great service, simple products, and financial knowledge and literacy.

The bank specializes in providing customers with a variety of banking and investment products, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, and loans, as well as online banking services, allowing customers to access their accounts from anywhere with an internet connection.

Overall, we are a bit unimpressed by this bank, to be frank. Read on for details.

If you’re a Minnesotan considering your banking options, you may want to check out our other content as well:

First Farmers and Merchant Bank: An Overview

We took a closer look at First Farmers and Merchant Bank to help you uncover the range of products available, and explore their offerings to determine if they are the right fit for you. To help, we will consider:

  • Their customer service
  • The range of checking accounts available, and the pros and cons of each
  • The range of savings accounts available, and the pros and cons of each
  • The range of investment and other savings options, including CDs and retirement accounts
  • Other services provided by First Farmers and Merchant Bank, including BillPay, mobile banking

Customer Service

First Farmers and Merchant Bank have a solid reputation for providing excellent customer service, with knowledgeable staff members who are always available to answer questions and provide assistance. The institution also has a Help Desk call center that can be accessed by phone or email, making it easy to get answers quickly.

Overall, customers report that the customer service at First Farmers and Merchant Bank is top-notch, offering extra peace of mind and security that your money is in safe hands.

What Checking Accounts Are Available?

First Farmers and Merchant Bank offer a range of checking account options to meet different customer needs and these range from basic checking accounts to those with higher balance requirements and additional features.

Overall though, most of their checking account features look fairly standard, we couldn’t really identify anything unique or exciting. It was the same story on the business checking side too.

Everyday Banking- An Ok, Very Basic, Checking Account Option

The most basic option offered by First Farmers and Merchant Bank is the Everyday Checking account – and, as the name suggests, this account is designed for customers who don’t have large balances or need a lot of features. There is an initial minimum deposit requirement of $50, but no minimum balance must be maintained to keep the account open.

Customers benefit from a cash card and access to credit, but there are no additional fees or services associated with this account.

Pros

  • No need to maintain a minimum balance
  • Low minimum deposit requirement
  • Great basic account for customers who don’t need a lot of features

Cons

  • No additional benefits or services

Interest Checking – A Slightly Improved Option, But With Unclear Rates

The next option available to customers is the Interest Checking account, which is designed to provide customers with a higher interest rate on their deposits. The minimum deposit is $100, and customers must maintain a balance of at least $1,000 to earn the higher interest rate. Customers benefit from online bill pay, a cash card, and access to credit.

Unfortunately, we were not able to identify anywhere where they list their current rates, which was frustrating. This is usually listed front and center on most banks’ web pages.

Pros

  • Higher rate of interest
  • Access to online bill pay
  • Cash card and access to credit

Cons

  • A minimum balance requirement of $1,000 must be maintained to earn the higher interest rate
Facts about the largest bank in Minnesota

Which Savings Accounts Are Available?

First Farmers and Merchant Bank also offer a variety of savings accounts designed to meet different needs. These range from a Statements Savings account to specific options for more precise goals, allowing you to tailor your savings based on your individual needs.

Again though, a major problem we found was that they do not clearly and easily list their current rates, as almost every other bank we look at does. In our experience, this is a bit of a red flag for us (we’re not a fan of savings accounts in the first place). 

Statements Savings

The Statements Savings account is the most basic option offered by First Farmers and Merchant Bank, and it requires a minimum deposit of just $50 to open the account.

There are no minimum balance requirements or fees associated with this account, and customers can earn interest on their deposits while still having easy access to their funds. The account also comes with a savings card, allowing you to make deposits to your account anywhere that accepts Visa.

Pros

  • Basic, accessible account
  • Low minimum deposit

Cons

  • Interest rates are not known or available easily 

Minor Statement Savings

Another option available to customers of First Farmers and Merchant Bank is the Minor Statement Savings account. This is designed for children under the age of 18 and is a great way to get your children set up for the future.

There are no minimum balance requirements or fees associated with this account, and customers can earn interest on their deposits while still having easy access to their funds.

Pros

  • Designed to help get children saving early 
  • No minimum balance requirements

Cons

  • Must be set up before their 18th birthday

Savers Plus

The Savers Plus account is an option designed to help customers save for specific goals, such as vacation or college tuition. Customers must maintain an average balance of at least $2500 -this is also the minimum opening deposit – and will be charged a fee if the account falls below this.

This is a great way to earn good interest while ensuring that you are saving towards a specific goal. The account also comes with a savings card, allowing you to make deposits to your account anywhere that accepts Visa.

Pros

  • Great for people who need a separate account to stay disciplined saving for a long term goal 
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Must really be used for long-term goals

Christmas Club

Another option available to customers is the Christmas Club account, which is designed for customers who want to save money throughout the year for their holiday expenses. There is no minimum opening deposit for this account, and there are no fees associated with it. Customers can also earn interest on their deposits while still having easy access to their funds.

We see this option at a lot of smaller banks, but to be honest, it feels like a bit of a gimmick. Remember to try to keep your money invested and earning you a return, not in a super low-rate savings account! 

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Another product offered by the bank is access to a health savings account (HSA) for customers who have a high-deductible health plan.

This type of account allows customers to set aside pre-tax money for medical expenses, and customers can use the funds when they need it without having to pay taxes on them, making this a way to save money for medical expenses and ensure that you are covered and protected in the event of an emergency situation.

300 banks in Minnesota

First Farmers also offers other basic services you would expect of any bank

First Farmers and Merchant Bank also offer additional services to customers, and some of these include:

Bill Pay

First Farmers and Merchant Bank offer customers the ability to pay their bills online with the click of a button. This service is free of charge and allows customers to manage their finances from anywhere with an internet connection.

Mobile Banking

With First Farmers and Merchant Bank’s mobile banking app, customers have the ability to manage their accounts on the go. The app allows customers to transfer funds between accounts, pay bills, and view account statements. The app is free to download and use, making it a convenient way to take care of financial needs while on the go.

One really odd thing we found here is that each individual branch appears to have its own app. This is quite strange and not something we’ve come across before. We’re not clear on the reason for this, but it feels a bit disjointed.

On the plus side, though, we checked the rating of each individual branch’s app and they all had strong ratings. So despite the strange setup, customers generally seem pleased with their mobile banking experience at First Farmers. 

Money Management Tools

First Farmers and Merchant Bank also offer customers money management tools to help them stay on top of their finances. These tools include budgeting tools, tracking spending tools, and goal-setting tools that can help customers save for their future goals.

We’ll also note here, though, that their online web-based banking felt a bit dated. Their whole website was a bit basic and not completely easy or intuitive to navigate. This felt like something they will need to update soon since most banks are offering easy-to-use, intuitive, online banking options. 

Notary Services

Like just about every bank, First Farmers and Merchant Bank also offer customers access to notary services. This is especially helpful for customers who need to have documents notarized, as the bank can provide reliable and secure notarial services at a low cost. Notary services are available during normal banking hours, and customers must bring valid identification with them.

PopMoney Feature 

One notable – and useful – feature of First Farmers and Merchant Bank is the PopMoney feature, which allows you to send money to anyone with a U.S. bank account using just an email or phone number. This is a great way to transfer funds quickly and securely, and the service is free of charge for First Farmers and Merchant Bank customers.

The PopMoney feature is also convenient for those who are often on the go, as it can be accessed through the mobile app or online banking system, making it easy to send money anywhere – you can pay your landlord wherever you are, send money to a child at college, or pay for a service such as babysitting.

All you will need to do is make sure that you are all set up with Bill Pay, and you will be able to make transfers quickly and easily.

Cash And Check Cards

First Farmers and Merchant Bank also offer customers a variety of cash and check cards, which allow customers to access their accounts quickly and easily. These cards can be used anywhere that accepts MasterCard or Visa, and are accepted in millions of locations worldwide.

The institution also offers extra security for your cards with the Card Valet feature, which allows you to set spending limits and turn off or on your cards with the touch of a button. This feature can help you keep track of your spending, as well as prevent fraud and unauthorized transactions.

Loans And Lending

In addition to personal banking services, First Farmers and Merchant Bank also offer customers a variety of loans and lending options. Customers can apply for consumer loans, auto loans, mortgage loans, and even business loans to help grow their businesses.

The bank also offers special services for those in need of debt consolidation or credit counseling. These services can provide customers with the resources and guidance needed to get out of debt and back on track financially.

Credit Cards

First Farmers claims it has a credit card product on its website, but that you need to visit them at an in-person branch to find out any details about it.

Again, we found this extremely odd as most banks proudly list the details, features, benefits, rates, and rewards of their credit cards. We’re not sure if this is a red flag or just strange, but it doesn’t have us rushing to sign up for a First Farmers account. 

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Our Take: You Can Probably Find A Better Option

Overall, First Farmers and Merchant Bank offer customers a wide range of services to help them manage their money.

But, it leaves a lot to be desired too. 

It only offers the most basic banking services, doesn’t really have any stand-out unique or exciting products, and is quite vague about very important points, like current rates, on several of its most core products. 

Editor's Note:

At Personal Finance Guru, we want to help you maximize your lifestyle through personal finance. You can trust the integrity of our independent financial advice. Our opinions are our own and have not been provided, reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any advertiser or financial product provider. To support and grow the site, however, we may receive compensation from the issuers of some products.

John Wayman

John Wayman

Author

John has always been fascinated by money, wealth, and investing. He got a front row seat into how Ultra High Net Worth individuals, families, and entities manage their money while working for years in Goldman Sachs’ Private Bank. 

He learned a great deal about personal finance and wealth management from some of the most experienced professionals in the industry.

Now he enjoys helping all kinds of people grow their wealth and achieve their financial goals.

When he’s not advising clients, Cody enjoys playing golf and spending time with family and friends.